Dear Justice-Seeking People of Faith,
This week, we celebrate the triumph of love over hate and the assurance that God can heal even the most shameful and harmful violence. It is our faith in this week’s revolutionary resurrection that will guide us through the struggles of next week, when the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church (our highest legal body) will gather in Newark, New Jersey to hear several cases involving our denomination’s discrimination against LGBTQIA persons.
In weeks like this, the Methodist Federation for Social Action strives to be intentional about asking the question, “To whom are we accountable?” We believe it is our sacred duty to ask those who are most vulnerable and most affected by our work to hold us most accountable. That is why, in this moment, we are encouraging our constituents to look to LGBTQIA people themselves as you consider what actions you might take to respond to next week’s hearings. Be in prayer for your family and friends who identify as LGBTQIA. Hold up to God those young people sitting in United Methodist pews, wondering if there is a place for them in the house of the Lord. Carry in your hearts those LGBTQIA kids who are living hard and dangerous lives on the streets of our cities because they have been rejected by their families in the name of religion. And, especially as the Judicial Council hears cases personally related to the ordination and consecration of LGBTQIA leaders in our denomination, do take time this week to meditate on the whole lives and ministries of our LGBTQIA clergy, those 170 clergy from 26 annual conferences who have joined the #CalledOut movement to publicly identify as LGBTQIA as well as those who are in spiritual and material situations that keep them from taking such a public stand.
As an organization, we are wholly supporting the work of the newly formed Queer Clergy Caucus and we encourage you to do the same. We stand in solidarity with their public letter in advance of the Judicial Council hearings. MFSA is also collecting financial offerings on behalf of the caucus to assist their members in traveling to the Judicial Council hearings to make a visible and public witness to the harm done when their rich and faithful lives of relationship and ministry are reduced to sexual acts and dragged through a mud of legal definition in front of the world. In a denomination that frequently talks about LGBTQIA people without including them, we will strive to do all we can to support the Queer Clergy Caucus and their allies in being unmistakably present at the site of debate that directly affects their lives.
We ask you to join us in this support and solidarity by:
1. Reading and sharing the public letter of the Queer Clergy Caucus. Consider adding your name in support of this letter here.
2. Making an effort to be present in Newark for the Judicial Council Hearings April 25-28. You can register your desire to participate in the physical witness on April 25 here.
3. Offering a financial gift for the witness of the Queer Clergy on our donate page. Please make a note in the “tribute” box to “Queer Clergy Witness.”
4. Posting a photo of you proudly wearing your #CalledOut solidarity t-shirt next week and/or changing your profile picture to include a selfie of you wearing it.
Through these efforts, we hope to be a witness that God’s resurrection word is true and that, though harm is being done this day, we live boldly in the faith that love will win the victory.
Seeking Justice Together,
The Staff and Board of Directors
Methodist Federation for Social Action